Turn Off Ads?
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 17

Thread: Defense, Pitching and Improving

  1. #1
    Moderator RedlegJake's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    North Kansas City, Mo
    Posts
    5,813

    Defense, Pitching and Improving

    Been off work for a few days, health – nothing serious – with a lot of time on my hands so I got to investigating Hardball Times, Sons of Sam Horn, Redszone, Justin Inaz’ site On Baseball and the Reds (http://jinaz-reds.blogspot.com/2007/...ne-rating.html),
    David Pinto’s PMR Stats (http://www.baseballmusings.com/archi...l_of_range.php)
    and others, checking fielding stats and effects on runs allowed above average.

    Now I’m no statistician so I’m not going to lay out a line of numbers on you, but what I did discover really opened my eyes to some things. First, defensive metrics have come a long way, baby – maybe they aren’t as definitive as offensive metrics yet but they are getting much, much better and used together, OOZ, RZR, SAFE, the Fielding Bible, BIZ, and others used together provide a pretty good look at each player’s abilities.

    Now, mind you, I thought the Reds were pretty average defensively in 2007. After all they had a decent fielding season, didn’t they? Fewest errors in a long while, that sort of thing.

    I figured combined with a perceived lack of range that the sum of things was well – average. Shows how dumb some perceptions can be. The Reds Out of Zone fielding was mind bogglingly (is that a word) bad. Really, maybe Cincinnati should be renamed 'The City of Statues' with this defense.

    The Reds in a nutshell are a horrible defensive team. Except for 2nd and short, where the Reds aren’t bad (Phillips has good range, average reliability; Gonzalez and Keppinger exactly the opposite, +reliability with average range) just about everything else is bad or worse.

    EdE continues to be horrible at third base, sub par range no matter what metric you use, and sub par on routine plays. That surprised me. I always thought of him as mostly arm problems but he has below average range, too.

    First is bad, too. Hopefully, Votto is an improvement because Hatteberg is a statue. Although his numbers with the Reds were limited Cantu’s stats suggest decent range – so maybe between Joey and Jorge the Reds can at least improve things at one position.

    So, the infield corners are bad? The outfield is a slaughterhouse! Statistically Dunn is the worst left fielder in baseball – depending on your stat and how you compute things he ends up losing 24 runs over replacement value with bad defense (especially with Inaz’s computation). Now his offense is so good he still winds up a very plus player overall but giving up 24 runs at one position over league average is just nuts!

    Griffey in right field – well its no secret the board already knows how limited his range is. His arm is no longer a plus either but he is still reliable to balls hit in his zone, at least. He gets to nothing out of his zone anymore, and I gotta tell ya – I already knew what we call his ‘zone’ is shrinking pretty badly. Pretty much he spreads his arms and there’s his zone.

    So bad at third, bad in left. Adequate to below average at first, bad in right. As long as they hit it up the middle we’re okay. Well, wait a minute. As long as Hopper is playing center (I knew you’d hate that) we’re okay. Hamilton, at least right now, is a butcher in center. Below average reliability and below average range. Heck, I knew that – the guy is a prototypical rifle armed right fielder, not a center picket. Besides after a long layoff the reliability will improve (reliability meaning handling balls in zone). Freel is below average on BIZ, though a bit above average getting to balls out of zone albeit an arm better suited for left.

    Now I understand (better anyway) why Hopper got so much playing time last year. He’s the only guy beside Ellison who could catch a ball hit in and around his general vicinity. Actually Norris’ fielding numbers last summer were an anomaly – the numbers suggest he was a fielding giant, especially earlier in the year. Really, its crazy but he had terrific numbers by all the stats. Add an impossible to replicate BABIP and OBP and I can almost understand why he played ahead of Hamilton. Someone has to catch fly balls. I mean while moving. (Being fair to Junior).

    All of which brings me to my real point. The Reds can add all the pitching they want but unless the pitchers they acquire obtain a large number of outs themselves (aka Strikeouts) or are extreme ground ball pitchers (conveniently hit where the SS and 2B can handle a large number of them) they won’t be terribly effective. Or perhaps that is simply reversed. They will likely be Effectively terrible.

    League average BABIP is .301. The Reds pitching staff was at 3.18? BABIP is considered the ‘luck’ factor. For a pitcher too high it’s unlucky. When it’s your whole pitching staff it suggests lousy defense, a hitter’s park, or both. GAB is a home run park but generally closer to neutral all things considered. Certainly for balls in play it should be pitcher friendly. Not huge gaps or cavernous ground to cover. But if your defense stinks AND you’re pitching in a launching pad you’re going to get creamed.

    Carlos Silva, for instance. He’s going to be an improvement in this park with the Reds defense behind him when he has a tendency to allow the long ball already? His BABIP will likely go up because the defense is worse, he doesn’t strike people out to help himself much, and he isn’t a ground ball pitcher. Hoy MiltHaynes!

    Either sign, or trade, for a couple of flamethrowers who can help themselves out of jams (is it much wonder our best hurler tends to strike out a lot of people, and our next starter has a decent K rate, too?), or improve the defense a lot – which I think equates into Belisle magically becoming much better (decent K/9, excellent K/BB but high hits per inning which should drop quite a bit with a league average defense helping to bring his BABIP from .330 to .301). At a hit per inning, given his excellent command, Belisle is a solid pitcher. Bailey also stands a much better chance of staying confident and just letting his talent take over if the defense behind him improves a lot. Arroyo's 2007 was marred by bad luck (and bad defense) as his secondary numbers look 2006ish. Pitching, especially when a guy is young, is huge on confidence. The Reds defese canot be any young pitcher's psyche buddy, that's for sure.

    I think I’ve undervalued what a bad defense can do to a pitcher or an entire pitching staff. Maybe this is something we have to face up to – it will hurt to morph into a good defensive team but as it stands how many pitchers can come to Cincy – or want to come – and expect to have great seasons? Harang has shown it can be done but that’s the Mendoza line for pitching talent. Lesser or younger, less experienced arms will likely be swallowed into mediocrity by the bad combination of factors that work against pitchers as it now stands.

    Everyone wants to improve the staff. Maybe a big part of the solution is painful but necessary – finding trades for at least a couple of defensive under achievers and plugging the spots with above average defenders. It is a quandary since Dunn has such enormous offensive production, Junior is unlikely to go anywhere at least until the end of 2008 (No way I think he’ll sign off on a trade now – that ship has sailed) and Hamilton has enormous potential but is left playing out of position. Precisely why I said painful.

    Sorry so long. Like I said – I’ve had a lot of time on my hands.

  2. Turn Off Ads?
  3. #2
    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    35,425

    Re: Defense, Pitching and Improving

    Great stuff. Another place to look for some limited,but good information is www.fieldingbible.com . It just sures up most of what you already know, but it was done in a different way.

  4. #3
    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Guelph, ON
    Posts
    16,024

    Re: Defense, Pitching and Improving

    Great post Jake. I think you've summarized it very well. Range is so important, arguably the most important defensive skill, and almost completely ignored by the general media due to the lack of an accepted statistic.

    While the Reds pitching is not great, the difference between the performances we've been getting and league average can be attributed almost entirely to our craptastic defense.

    One of the corollaries to this point that I've been running with lately, is that the Reds need to shift their offensive production. As it stands now, we're in a catch-22 where we can't improve our defense without hurting our offense and we can't improve our pitching without either significant cost or improving our defense. Basically, this team can't win with Junior and Dunn as the offensive keystones and our corner OF. It's a fundamental design flaw that has to be fixed.
    Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.

  5. #4
    Moderator RedlegJake's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    North Kansas City, Mo
    Posts
    5,813

    Re: Defense, Pitching and Improving

    RedsManRick, I've come to the same conclusion. Basically, I think you can afford 1 sub par defender on either side if his numbers make up for it but you can't have both corners really limited. That also keeps your centerfielder from "fudging" his position to help the weaker corner since they're both bad. Everything just multiplies. For me things point to 2009 - Bruce on the scene, Griffey gone and Hamilton can move over to the spot best suited for him. Then Dunn's defense is less of an issue since he's the only weak outfielder (assuming that Hamilton really improves by moving to right which I think he would). Or man up and trade a couple guys to fix things, hoping the return is right and you don't wreck the offense in the process.

  6. #5
    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    35,425

    Re: Defense, Pitching and Improving

    My first move in an attempt to help would be to tell, not request, Dunn that he is now a irst baseman and to tell Votto to work on his outfield skills and when ST rolls around that he is going to be playing a lot in LF. He has better speed than Dunn and his glove is at least as good....he just needs more time to get used to things out there. Griffey doesn't appear to be in the fold for as long as Dunn does if Cast has his way, which is why Dunn gets moved rather than Dunn (well that and Griffey is slightly better than Dunn in the field relative to position).

  7. #6
    Five Tool Fool jojo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    18,946

    Re: Defense, Pitching and Improving

    Quote Originally Posted by RedlegJake View Post
    I think I’ve undervalued what a bad defense can do to a pitcher or an entire pitching staff. Maybe this is something we have to face up to – it will hurt to morph into a good defensive team but as it stands how many pitchers can come to Cincy – or want to come – and expect to have great seasons? Harang has shown it can be done but that’s the Mendoza line for pitching talent. Lesser or younger, less experienced arms will likely be swallowed into mediocrity by the bad combination of factors that work against pitchers as it now stands.
    Great post. Makes you wonder why people still cling to ERA doesn't it?
    "This isn’t stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner

  8. #7
    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    35,425

    Re: Defense, Pitching and Improving

    Quote Originally Posted by jojo View Post
    Great post. Makes you wonder why people still cling to ERA doesn't it?
    Its been aronud forever and very easy to understand.

  9. #8
    Moderator RedlegJake's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    North Kansas City, Mo
    Posts
    5,813

    Re: Defense, Pitching and Improving

    I think Dunn at first would help, but then I think (given he moved there) I'd try to move Votto while his value is high - young players that have showed something good even in a brief ML stint have out of proportion value on the market. Let Hopper and Dickerson cover until Bruce is deemed ready. Also, if you force Dunn to move and he feels strongly he'll almost certainly leave after next year - keep Votto at first and try hard to move Dunn. But if Dunn accepted the assignment without too much rancor maybe you can lock him up for a couple more years, improve the defense, and give Junior lots of rest and lots of early exits.

  10. #9
    Five Tool Fool jojo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    18,946

    Re: Defense, Pitching and Improving

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    Its been aronud forever and very easy to understand.
    The metric may be easy to understand but in reality it just clouds the picture further....
    "This isn’t stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner

  11. #10
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Posts
    796

    Re: Defense, Pitching and Improving

    Quote Originally Posted by RedlegJake View Post
    EdE continues to be horrible at third base, sub par range no matter what metric you use, and sub par on routine plays. That surprised me. I always thought of him as mostly arm problems but he has below average range, too.
    My impression is that EdE is a decent third basemen desperately seeking a nice target at first (and the confidence that such a target inspires). EdE's arm slot is a bit lower than most, and therefore his throws tend to sail on him. Moreover, the throwing errors have caused him to overthink and underreact--a big no-no at third. His footwork often looks unnatural, and he often pauses with the ball for an extra millisecond, perhaps because he is thinking about the impending throw. These issues would be nicely resolved if the Reds had a beast of a target at first, like one of these guys: http://actasports.com/sow.php?id=85.

    Look at Aramis Ramirez's defensive metrics, pre- and post-Derrek Lee, and you see what I am getting at.

    More broadly, I would look to metrics that capture more defensive responsibilities, not just those variations on the number of plays made (a la range factor, +/-, OOZ, etc). As I've said elsewhere, here is my ideal framework for evaluating defense:

    (a) How many plays were made
    (b) Which plays were not made, i.e., where and how many hits fell and their associated cost
    (c) How the player handled position-specific responsibilities (e.g., fielding bunts for corner infielders, fielding and relaying double plays for middle infielders, baserunning kills for OFers, digging out infield throws for 1B, etc.)
    (d) What are the interactive effects among players on the diamond, and what is the value of the components of these effects. For instance a groundball out isn't just a play, it is a *process*, with several contributors to that process. Pitcher pitches --> hitter hits ball to shortstop --> shortstop fields --> throws to first. We shouldn't judge the defensive player, independent of the process, unless we better understand the out creation that goes into each step of the process. [note: the smart guys aren't anywhere close to figuring out (d) yet.]

    Looking at the Reds, Hatteberg's defense is even worse when you consider the position-specific responsibilities, as he's virtually a non-target at first. On the other hand, Dunn looks much better, as he has one of the better LF arms.

    One other issue with Reds fielders may be structural. For instance, all the Reds shortstops defensive metrics have looked worse after they arrived in GABP (Larkin, FeLo, Clayton, Gonzalez). Is there something inherently difficult about fielding in GABP? The Reds may never get to the point of having a plus defense.

    The Reds current opportunities to improve the defense are in CF and 1B. If the Reds had good defenders at both of these positions, that should cover for any deficiencies elsewhere, assuming all else stays the same. It isn't a stretch to say the Reds could compete for a title with a plus defender in CF, 2B, 1B, and big negatives in the corner OF slots.
    Last edited by D-Man; 11-06-2007 at 01:59 PM.

  12. #11
    Five Tool Fool jojo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    18,946

    Re: Defense, Pitching and Improving

    Quote Originally Posted by D-Man View Post
    My impression is that EdE is a decent third basemen desperately seeking a nice target at first (and the confidence that such a target inspires). EdE's arm slot is a bit lower than most, and therefore his throws tend to sail on him. Moreover, the throwing errors have caused him to overthink and underreact--a big no-no at third. His footwork often looks unnatural, and he often pauses with the ball for an extra millisecond, perhaps because he is thinking about the impending throw. These issues would be nicely resolved if the Reds had a beast of a target at first, like one of these guys: http://actasports.com/sow.php?id=85.

    Look at Aramis Ramirez's defensive metrics, pre- and post-Derrek Lee, and you see what I am getting at.

    More broadly, I would look to metrics that capture more defensive responsibilities, not just those variations on the number of plays made (a la range factor, +/-, OOZ, etc). As I've said elsewhere, here is my ideal framework for evaluating defense:

    (a) How many plays were made
    (b) Which plays were not made, i.e., where and how many hits fell and their associated cost
    (c) How the player handled position-specific responsibilities (e.g., fielding bunts for corner infielders, fielding and relaying double plays for middle infielders, baserunning kills for OFers, digging out infield throws for 1B, etc.)
    (d) What are the interactive effects among players on the diamond, and what is the value of the components of these effects. For instance a groundball out isn't just a play, it is a *process*, with several contributors to that process. Pitcher pitches --> hitter hits ball to shortstop --> shortstop fields --> throws to first. We shouldn't judge the defensive player, independent of the process, unless we better understand the out creation that goes into each step of the process. [note: the smart guys aren't anywhere close to figuring out (d) yet.]

    Looking at the Reds, Hatteberg's defense is even worse when you consider the position-specific responsibilities, as he's virtually a non-target at first. On the other hand, Dunn looks much better, as he has one of the better LF arms.

    One other issue with Reds fielders may be structural. For instance, all the Reds shortstops defensive metrics have looked worse after they arrived in GABP (Larkin, FeLo, Clayton, Gonzalez). Is there something inherently difficult about fielding in GABP? The Reds may never get to the point of having a plus defense.

    The Reds current opportunities to improve the defense are in CF and 1B. If the Reds had good defenders at both of these positions, that should cover for any deficiencies elsewhere, assuming all else stays the same. It isn't a stretch to say the Reds could compete for a title with a plus defender in CF, 2B, 1B, and big negatives in the corner OF slots.
    One thing about EE is that the majority of his negative defensive runs have resulted from errors which presumably he can overcome. I'd be more down on EE is his poor defensive ratings were almost entirely range-related.
    "This isn’t stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner

  13. #12
    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    35,425

    Re: Defense, Pitching and Improving

    Quote Originally Posted by jojo View Post
    The metric may be easy to understand but in reality it just clouds the picture further....
    Oh I don't think you will find me saying its the best stat to determine a pitcher by.... I was just offering up why people like it so much.

  14. #13
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Shelburne Falls, MA
    Posts
    10,125

    Re: Defense, Pitching and Improving

    I am absolutely befuddled at EDE's range ratings. I watch a lot of baseball and it looks to me like he gets to a lot of balls both to his right and his left. Is there any kind of quantitative breakdown of how many balls are hit into the various quadrants/areas of a player's zone, and how he does with them? I'm wondering if there are certain plays that other 3rd basemen are making -- like coming in on the ball -- that EdE is not making.
    "Baseball is a very, very complex business. It's more of a people business than most businesses." - Bob Castellini

  15. #14
    Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Posts
    13,698

    Re: Defense, Pitching and Improving

    Excellent thread.

    The Reds have improved their infield defense. But the outfield remains a huge problem. The Reds have lots of excellent outfield bats, but no true centerfielder and two subpar corner men. They need to move a corner outfielder (to first base or in a trade), move Hamilton over to right, and add a true center fielder.

    When Bruce is ready, somebody else will have to go or move positions.

    I think the infield defense is improving and I would give EE more time to handle third base.

  16. #15
    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    35,425

    Re: Defense, Pitching and Improving

    Quote Originally Posted by Kc61 View Post
    Excellent thread.

    The Reds have improved their infield defense. But the outfield remains a huge problem. The Reds have lots of excellent outfield bats, but no true centerfielder and two subpar corner men. They need to move a corner outfielder (to first base or in a trade), move Hamilton over to right, and add a true center fielder.

    When Bruce is ready, somebody else will have to go or move positions.
    I would try Bruce in CF first until he proves he is below average. Then you move him to a corner.


Turn Off Ads?

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Board Moderators may, at their discretion and judgment, delete and/or edit any messages that violate any of the following guidelines: 1. Explicit references to alleged illegal or unlawful acts. 2. Graphic sexual descriptions. 3. Racial or ethnic slurs. 4. Use of edgy language (including masked profanity). 5. Direct personal attacks, flames, fights, trolling, baiting, name-calling, general nuisance, excessive player criticism or anything along those lines. 6. Posting spam. 7. Each person may have only one user account. It is fine to be critical here - that's what this board is for. But let's not beat a subject or a player to death, please.

Thank you, and most importantly, enjoy yourselves!


RedsZone.com is a privately owned website and is not affiliated with the Cincinnati Reds or Major League Baseball


Contact us: Boss | GIK | BCubb2003 | dabvu2498 | Gallen5862 | LexRedsFan | Plus Plus | RedlegJake | redsfan1995 | The Operator | Tommyjohn25